Thursday, April 03, 2008

O Stash, How I Love Thee

No really, I do love my stash. Not all of it equally, of course. But there's such a sense of frugality when knitting from stash! Of achievement! And I am being very, very good and holding off purchasing lots and lots of yarn that I really, really want, because... I have just found out that I am flying to the US in June. Chicago and Madison, homes of local yarn stores and lots of luscious yarn names that I have so far been only able to ogle on Ravelry and Interweave Knits and Knitty, and oh! I am drooling already! Better yet, I have a knitting partner in crime on the trip, so I suspect we'll be enabling an awful lot of fancy American kettle-dyed hand-reared yarn to make up for the acrylic wilderness of Northern England where we now live. Hooray!

So, one thing knitting from stash teaches you: what yarns you really like. Most of my stash comes from the broke days and from eBay. And much of it is sitting there looking... just a bit wrong. Just a bit too cottonny, a bit too acrylicky, a bit too chunky, a bit too listless... a bit too unloved. That's the thing about eBay, of course. No stroking and fondling the yarn! But my adventures in eYarn have been an Educational Experience, for through the medium of bargain yarn, I have found out for very few euros what I do and do not love. And currently, I am all about... the fine-gauge yarn. Yes. I have some stacks of aran and bulky to use up, some plain DKs without shine or brandname that I will doubtless get through at some time or another, but ooh, my heart is going out to fine, slightly sheeny, possibly blended yarns, sock yarns, cashmere-mix 4plys, laceweights... and I hereby promise to buy only the fine. Promise!

So what about that stashbusting, eh? Well, it's been like this...

FO: Chestnut Rose

chestnut rose
Pattern: Rose Red, from Ysolda

Yarns: Langora (left over from my bolero), two-and-a-smidgen skeins

Needles: 4mm bamboo DPNS

Time sucked: A week or so. I was on the train a lot.

Verdict: I was risking it, using a fingering-weight yarn in a DK pattern, and even though I knitted the large size, a slouchy beret she ain't. Much more, as my lovely lady friend said, a "bell-y cloche". But my lovely lady friend is a 1930s kind of a girl, and she likes the cloche look. I'm not sure I'd wear it myself, but she loves it, and that is most definitely what matters. Hooray! It's a gorgeous pattern, though you do have to keep paying attention, and I might well stashbust some more and knit up some of the rest of my shocking-pink cashsoft into a properly slouchy DK beret...

And there's more!

FO: Baudelaire Socks

baudelaires done

I love looking at all the pictures of these on Ravelry: because they're toe-up, people get fabulously long socks out of them, and really, long socks is where I'm at. Lookit, high lacey socks and mary-janes: it's back to primary school! Except that these are particularly witchy mary-janes, of course...

Pattern: Baudelaire, by Cookie A from Knitty, by Cookie A, from Knitty

Yarns: Schoeller + Stahl Fortissima Socka in pink, bought at the knitting and stitching show (sighs) two years ago. See! I am getting through the stash! I am! And this yarn was always meant for the Baudelaires! I like it: it's robust and even. More on that anon...

Needles: 2.5 mm DPNs

Time sucked
: Two weeks. Good LORD, these socks are princessy and demand attention. I ripped back and forth and recrossed cables and picked up YOs and... well, if anyone's paying enough attention to my calves that they notice an uncrossed cable, you really have to worry about them. They're only socks! It doesn't really matter! And yet somehow, it does.

: I opened out the cables and increased them to allow for calf muscles in what I hoped was a spot of elegant-ish clocking on the side. You can kinda see in the photo. It seems to have worked; the leaf pattern isn't stretching out at all...

So in general, am I pleased with myself? I am. Onwards and upwards with the Henley P., so! It's 16 degrees and springy out, but the BBC assures me that it'll be rainy and back down near freezing at the weekend. Light lacey warm jumpers will be where it's at, then. Meanwhile, to decide how best to get rid of the rejected members of my stash: the poor fluffy baby cottons (hate baby knitting), navy sock yarn (have knitted socks for my dad, don't have any other men to knit for), the lustreless vintage Lavenda 3-ply... all to make way for US yarn. And on the subject, a sad story to finish up with: luxe yarns may be only gorgeous, but look...

My glorious Lorna's Laces! My fine and finicky Potomatusamuses! Six months of wear and the washing machine, and look what happeneth! I suppose it was inevitable, but let it also be a Warning to me on my search for luxe yarn: luxe is as luxe does, but don't get too carried away by the Shiny. Yes, Lorna's Laces is beautiful, yes, the sock pattern is elegant, but you know what? if the socks aren't going to last, then it ain't exactly worth it. Let this be a lesson to me, in my yarntastic June adventures...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Those socks with those shoes look like an illustration out of the out of Lemony Snicket books... Which makes sense with the name Baudelaire, I guess.

That's a beautiful colour for your girl <3